President Mugabe was addressing relatives and mourners gathered at the home of the late Ret. Gen. Zvinavashe in Tynwald, Harare this afternoon.
The President started his address by narrating how the late Fox, Musungwa Gava was as a young man was recruited to the struggle, despite the fact that his elder brother Stephen who was among the first cadres to be recruited for training in Ghana, had died in the struggle.
He explained that he first met the late Ret. Gen. Zvinavashe in 1976 in Lusaka Zambia before the Geneva Conference when many leaders of the struggle had been arrested, following the death of Herbert Chitepo in a car bomb in 1975.
When the Geneva Conference failed to yield results on Zimbabwe’s independence, Vitalis Zvinavashe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and others were chosen to start and lead the armed struggle which started in 1977 until the British agreed to go the negotiating table in 1979.
President Mugabe highlighted to the mourners how, even after independence, General Zvinavashe was elevated and how he continued to uphold the interests and independence of Zimbabwe.
He said General Zvinavashe’s desire to uplift his people is evident in the establishment of a preschool at his Tynwald home, a primary and secondary school in Warren Park and a college.
He explained that national hero status is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who have distinguished themselves in the service of Zimbabwe.
On a lighter note, the gathering at Zvinavashe’s home was a true reflection of the cross section of people whom he associated with during his 66-year journey on earth as war veterans, chimbwidos, church groups party people and ordinary Zimbabweans took turns on the floor as they remembered their fallen hero.
HUNDREDS PAY TRIBUTE
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners gathered at Makombo stadium at Mupandawana growth point in Masvingo Province, to bid farewell to Ret. Gen. Zvinavashe.
His body landed at Makombo stadium at around 2 pm Friday and was received by the Masvingo leadership as well as hundreds of mourners.
Speakers at a service held at the stadium included the Zanu PF Central Committee member, Shuvai Mahofa who described the retired general’s death as marking the loss of a pillar in the politics of the province.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga gave an account of Ret. Gen. Zvinavashe’s military exploits during the liberation war, describing him as a brave soldier who never wavered from the revolutionary goals of freedom, democracy and human rights for all.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Stan Mudenge, told mourners to learn from the principled and consistent political career of Ret.Gen. Zvinavashe.
After the service at Makombo stadium, General Zvinavashe’s body was flown to his Gutu farm where mourners from the nearby farming community joined the Zvinavashe family in mourning as well as celebrating his military achievements.
Among the mourners at the farm were Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister, Titus Maluleke; the Zanu PF Politburo Member, Dzikamai Mavhaire; Chivi-Mwenezi Senator, Josiah Hungwe and the President of the Chief’s Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira.